There are many reasons why you may be feeling low and a lot of the time we blame our hormones, the weather or even our hectic lifestyles. But what about our diet? Low mood could be caused by something as simple as having a vitamin D deficiency. There are many other nutrients that are often deficient in people with depression including B3, B6, Folic acid, B12 and Vitamin C, Zinc, Magnesium, Copper and Chromium. Vitamin B6 in particular helps make serotonin.
According to leading nutritionist Patrick Holford, one of the areas that affects mood is your serotonin levels. It is made by an amino acid called 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), which triggers release of a chemical called tryptophan that boosts serotonin levels. Deficiency of serotonin can be caused by stress, lack of sleep or a poor diet lacking in key nutrients.
At B/Nutrition, we can help establish the root cause of your low mood and test for nutrient and food deficiencies and other factors like hormonal imbalances but for now here are some ways to help you boost your mood with food.
Feel Good Menu
- Dairy foods: Think yoghurt, cheese and milk – these are all high in calcium, which causes a chain-reaction that helps increase tryptophan levels and serotonin.
- Good-quality protein: Foods such as turkey, eggs, beans and fatty fish (salmon and sardines) are high in tryptophan.
- Studies have shown people with depression have reduced levels of Omega 3 and increased ratios of Omega 6: Omega 3. Omega 3 can be found in oily fish, flaxseed and chia seeds.
- · Increase B Vitamins - Eat B vitamin rich whole foods to support neurotransmitter production.
- Folic acid - Green vegetables, lentils, nuts and seeds.
- B12 - Animal foods – meat, fish, eggs and dairy produce.
- B6 – Avocado, bananas and legumes.
- Brazil nuts: These boost your levels of selenium, also often low in people suffering the blues.
- Fruits: Serotonin occurs naturally in fruits such as plums, cherries, kiwi fruit, plantains, bananas, pineapple and tomatoes.
- Hot chocolate: Cocoa boasts high polyphenol levels, which may help reduce symptoms of depression.
- Vitamin D can be obtained through foods such as fortified cereals, meat and oily fish. But the best source is through the sun and in the winter months when the sunlight is limited you may need a boost of vitamin D through a supplement but this can be determined through a simple test to check your levels.
- Practice good sleep hygiene.
- Regular exercise – stimulates endorphin production.
- Get outside as natural sunlight is a great source of Vitamin D.
Please contact us for more information and to make an appointment to come in and see how we can help improve your mood.